Renewable Energy in Canada

How is Canada Ranking in Clean Energy?

A report released by Clean Energy Canada in February 2016 shows Canada as currently being in eighth place globally for green energy. Investment in green energy dropped 46% in 2015: US$4.0 Billion from 2014’s US$7.4 Billion.

Renewable energy currently provides about 18.9% of Canada’s energy supply. Energy sources, from largest to smallest, are hydroelectricity –responsible for 59.3% of Canada’s electricity generation; wind at 3.5%; and biomass at 1.4%. Wind and solar are the fastest growing sources of energy in the country. But over 75% of Canada’s domestic energy supply is still derived from fossil fuels.

Since 2013 the clean energy sector is the fastest growing job market in Canada. As of 2015, green jobs employed 26,900 people in the country.

What’s happening in the provinces?

Ontario

Although Ontario’s green energy sector is constantly growing, the province’s strategy is rooted strongly in the conservation and efficiency of energy use. Carbon emissions from electricity production have declined by over 80%.

The province has completely weaned off of coal energy, but depends on and invests heavily in nuclear and natural gas. While these sources are lower carbon, they still produce negative effects on the environment, especially when compared to solar and wind technologies. 

·      Greenhouse gas emissions produced by natural gas are still only 25 to 40 percent less per unit of generated electricity.

·      Hydraulic fracturing uses 8-15 million litres of fresh water per well.

·      Unusually small particulates associated with its production have been linked to respiratory disease.

Natural gas, while sometimes touted a being a “bridge” to green energy, is certainly less than ideal from an environmental standpoint.

British Columbia

A lot of green fingers are wagging at BC’s premier Christy Clark, and blaming BC’s investment and optimism in LNG for putting the brakes on green energy developments in the province.

Between 2011 and 2013 BC’s emissions rose 1.5 MT CO2eq (carbon dioxide equivalent). The province continues to loose face as the country’s trailblazer in the transition to green energy. As part of the Canada Starts Here: BC Jobs Plan the government has set a goal of opening three LNG facilities by 2020.

Currently, 95% of BC’s electricity supply is derived from renewable sources (mostly hydro), while 80% of BC’s greenhouse gas emissions still come from the burning of fossil fuels

What’s happening in cities?

Vancouver

BC’s biggest city implemented a plan to use 100% renewable energy by 2050 in the electricity, heating and cooling and transportation sectors. Click here to see the plan in detail. This is achievable though creating new renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. Increasing insulation of the city’s buildings to improve energy efficiency, and the expansion of its bike lane network are two notable projects of the Vancouver Renewable City Strategy.

Oxford County, ON

One year after a unanimous decision by County Council to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050, Oxford County is releasing its Draft 100% Renewable Energy Plan to the community. The original June 24, 2015, motion put forward by Woodstock Mayor and County Councillor Trevor Birtch placed Oxford as the first municipal government in Ontario to commit to a renewable energy target and only the second in Canada after Vancouver, BC.

West Kootenays

West Kootenay cities could be leaders in the transition to green jobs and renewable energy. This would create economic and social opportunities if we commit to 100% renewable energy and incentivize clean tech and protect our water, land, air and communities. Add your voice to the call for 100% Renewable Kootenays.

Green jobs: a just transition for workers

Check out the Pembina Institute’s map of clean energy jobs in BC & green buildings map

 

The Solutions Project shows how the transition to 100% renewable energy is 100% possible in Canada, and the rest of the world.